‘I Feel Heard. And Believed’: Read R. Kelly Survivor Kitti Jones’ Emotional Victim Impact Statement
“Many have been waiting for this day to come.”
Kitti Jones entered a Brooklyn courthouse on Wednesday, ready to confront the man she says sexually and physically abused her for more than two years. In 2017, after years of silence, Jones came forward to detail her relationship with R. Kelly, which included frequent acts of coercive control, humiliation, abuse and a slew of draconian rules that dictated nearly every aspect of her life. Now, she and others were given the opportunity — ahead of the singer’s sentencing for racketeering and sex trafficking — to deliver victim impact statements directly to the disgraced singer.
Seven women addressed Kelly one by one in Brooklyn’s Eastern District Court, with some detailing how they were teenagers when Kelly began grooming and sexually abusing them. Kelly did not look at the women as they read their impact statements, staring straight ahead instead. Read her complete impact statement (reprinted here with Jones’ permission).
My name is Kitti Jones. In 2017, rumors had been circulating on blogs about my time with Robert Kelly and I was approached by Rolling Stone to share my story from 2011 to 2013. It was a dark story of abuse and sexual coercion. I no longer wanted to give Robert Kelly the luxury of my silence, so I decided not to be anonymous. I didn’t know the impact my story would have at the time, but it opened the floodgates and empowered many others between 2018 and 2020 to start contacting authorities and media to finally tell their stories publicly.
In that article, I shared with the world what I encountered over a two-year period living with Robert Kelly, which included humiliating sexual abuse, physical abuse, and severe weight loss due to punishments of days going without food.
Before I met Robert Kelly, I was a vibrant, happy, successful radio personality and well-known socialite. I was living the life of my dreams. And then I met him and, like many others, fell for the person who shared his hurts and betrayals of his past. Upon learning those things, I wanted to protect him and earn his trust. I vowed to never speak on my time with him or tell his darkest secrets; I planned to take the things he had done to me to my grave.
“I planned to take the things he had done to me to my grave.”
After I left his home at the end of 2013, I still had the mindset to never tell. Until one day, three years later, my worse fears came true. I got wind that he was doing to others what he had done to me and I panicked at the thought of someone much younger than me having to experience those things, and the emotional and mental impact it would have years later. I had to speak up because my silence up until then and others who never publicly came forward allowed this man to feel invincible.
He had a reason to feel invincible. He was still performing at sold-out concerts, Grammy parties, writing songs for the biggest names in music, being praised by his peers, performing on award shows to standing ovations, and radio stations including the one I used to work at supported his music! The Black community would crown him the king of R&B music anytime the topic came up.
Knowing his fan base were women who look like many of his victims, he knew the public would never believe myself or others if we came forward. While this empowered Robert Kelly, it made me feel powerless and silenced. It became really dark, frightening, and lonely living with those memories, secrets, and left with wondering, “Why me??” It’s been difficult to be in another relationship or trust other men. And I have never gone back to being the social butterfly I once was. I’ve had therapy and counseling to cope with my time living with him and learned how not to blame myself.
“The pain of my past with Robert Kelly has become my power.”
But today it doesn’t feel dark, the secrets are out, and the pain of my past with Robert Kelly has become my power. I feel heard. And believed.
Your honor, my hope is that the amount of time being asked by the prosecutors is given, considering the long list of survivors and our families and the many lives that have been affected and forever changed. Many have been waiting for this day to come. Thank you.
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